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Old 08-14-2010, 11:54 AM
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Wasted Words

I have stopped trying to coerce, cajole plead etc with my daughter, talking with her is like stepping in quicksand anyway sooner or later I get sucked in and start lecturing. One day she promises to try and quit another day she feels she can just "cut back". How do I detach? I am going to ask her to move out but how in the world does a mother detach from her daughter?
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Old 08-14-2010, 11:58 AM
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Have you considered finding and attending Al-anon meetings? They can help you learn detachment. You have taken the first step by admitting that coercing, cajoling and pleading do not work. It's much the same as with the alcoholic in that we won't truly detach until we are ready and have had enough. Telling her to leave is a good first step. Detachment doesn't mean you no longer care, it means that you are allowing her to make her own choices about her own life, and you are taking care of yourself.
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Old 08-14-2010, 12:42 PM
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Hi Carmen

I am so sorry for your situation - it is so heart breaking.

This is a good place for you to be - the weekend can be a little quiet but there will be some wonderful memebers along shortly with great words of wisdom.

Hand in there -
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Old 08-14-2010, 04:33 PM
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Hi carmen,
It wasn't easy to detach from my son at first when he was using and living in our home. He had some short periods of clean time but as things progressed we learned how to detach in love from what he was doing. I was fortunate in some ways that we were all able to remain more than civil about it...and that went both ways.

When he was home the last few times, he knew the rules....don't use in the house and don't bring any kind of trouble into the house...stealing, lying etc. The focus was on what he decided to do...not on who he was as a person or how we felt about him as his parents.

What helped me was going to lots of meetings, Al-Anon every week; and plenty of open AA and NA meetings. Once I learned more it became absolutely clear what I needed to do and how I needed to do it.

My son was out on his own for about six months before his final arrest. After that he hit bottom and decided to attend a drug program offered by the jail. He's been clean over 4 years now. I'm so grateful.

I'm glad you found SR and know you will find lots of help and support here.
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Old 08-14-2010, 04:45 PM
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Carmen,

I think it must be a lot harder with children than it is with a partner or spouse. We feel so damn RESPONSIBLE for them, and it feels like we are abandoning them when we leave them to their own choices.

What happens is they promise, we agree, they start changing the agreement, and we get stuck enforcing it. And feel like the big meanie.

I doubt that she is feeling guilty about putting you in this position. All she knows is you are rocking the boat and disrupting her comfortable status quo. She will make promises to get you off her back and then do as she pleases.

She's an adult, it isn't your job to accommodate her choices. I think it's inevitable she is going to be angry and blame you. You have to be very strong and keep coming here and going to Al-Anon for support that you are doing the best thing for you both.

Hugs,
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Old 08-14-2010, 06:26 PM
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I am not a parent so I do not know any particulars about detaching from a child specifically. But I have done plenty of detaching in my lifetime and have fumbled and stumbled and learned my way through it many times, detaching from many people, and at many levels. I know I still have a ways to go but I think I have some of my basics down.

First is physical detachment. Get yourself physically away from the person whose toxicity is causing problems in your life. This helps you on many fronts, one of which is it gives you peace enough to get your life back in order. You get breathing room. It gives you calm and allows you to get some perspective. It allows you to mind your own business because they are simply not there in front of your face. I have learned over many years NOT to think about it too hard or too much, or doubt myself. What that means is if a person is toxic, I will try to let them know how their behavior makes me feel and ask them to make a change. If they do not make a change, they are OUT. That's it. No second-guessing myself and making myself suffer for someone else's toxicity anymore.

Second for me is emotional detachment. Emotional detachment is much harder, IMO. You ask yourself, what emotional needs am I getting met, or trying to get met, through the dynamic between this person and I? Does the relationship I have with this person make me feel wanted? Needed? Superior? Loving? Loved? Important? There are MANY different feelings, both "positive" or desirable and "negative" or undesirable, that we, as everyday normal human beings, try to get met through our relationships with others. Even feelings that appear to be "normal."

The trick is to recognize which feelings we are USING other people (and our relationships with them) for. Next, do the research that needs to be done to get those emotional needs met ALONE, without the other person. Emotional detachment can take a lifetime to accomplish. The only way I know to do it is to continue to get myself involved in relationships with other people, observe myself in those relationships, and adjust accordingly. I hope that I never stop this process :O)

Another important process in my efforts at emotional attachment have included recognizing my expectations of others. Key to identifying unhealthy expectations is knowing that they will give you unhealthy feelings and behaviors. So, when you see and feel yourself feeling and/or behaving badly, you know to start examining your expectations. My worst is my ANGER. When I am screaming and yelling so insanely that I am literally foaming at the mouth, I KNOW that my expectations of the person I am screaming and yelling at are TOO HIGH (Duh, right? Took a therapist to point this out to me).

An example: I had to emotionally detach from my Dad, who is an alcoholic. My Dad is the most loving, kind, cool guy on Earth. I love him SO MUCH. But there are just some things he cannot deliver, no matter how much the rest of the world THINKS he should. He has never told me he loves me, he has never given me a birthday card, he has rarely ever in my lifetime bought me a present. Any presents I have bought him, he typically has either given away to one of my brothers, or, in a drunken fit, BROKEN them on purpose to prove some drunken point. I have seen him HIT my mother in the face, hard. OK, I could go on but I think you get the idea. Here's the thing: ALL those things USED TO hurt me on a regular basis. Just the fact that he could not behave or act the way I wanted him to, the fact that he could not be the kind of dad I wanted, hurt me ALL THE TIME. There were MANY emotional needs I have had, as both a child and an adult, of my father. Many of them have never been met. I went through life as an adult SUFFERING from not getting those needs met. Until I learned how to meet those needs myself. And learned how to let go of the ideals made up in my head and lower my expectations.

And yes, Al-Anon will help you immensely. Attending Al-Anon will teach you how to do these investigations by listening to others do them out loud in a quiet room where you feel safe and protected and among caring, friendly people who know EXACTLY what you are going through. I recommend it wholeheartedly. There you will learn the tools.

Please take good care of yourself Carmen.
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Old 08-14-2010, 08:41 PM
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Hi Carmen,

It's different when it's your child. At least it was for me. I learned to say this to myself over and over again: My son has some really important life lessons to learn, and they aren't from me. I also said that same statement to people who asked me questions about him - how he was, where he was, etc.

Some wonderful people here also taught me a few things - one of which was that I could love my son right into his grave if I wasn't careful... and to give my son the dignity of experiencing the consequences of his own actions.

When I could wrap myself around the concept that detaching from him was actually helping him, well then it was a lot easier, because as his mom I really just wanted to help him.

I've been quoted before and will share this with you as well: This mom stuff ain't for weenies!

Big mom hugs
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Old 08-14-2010, 09:29 PM
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Learning how to detach makes us take a look at our own issues, taking our own inventory.
It is a good place to start, getting healthy 1st and changing the dynamic of the relationship.
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Old 08-15-2010, 06:33 PM
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I had an 18 year old AD that no longer lives w/ us at our request.(didn't that sound polite lol!)Active addicts are not going to be "talked "into or out of ANYTHING. Alanon can help you with the detatchment. I still love my daughter, but my every thought, mood, and feeling is not dependant on whether or not she is using. Takes work, but you can't live all enmeshed w/ an addict, it'll kill ya.
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